Jordan Peterson on gender: An analysis

Note: I wrote this in early 2019 as part of a collective critique of Jordan Peterson’s ideologies. I was concerned about the influence he was apparently having on people within my social circles, and worried about the potential cultural ramifications as he gained a wider audience, particularly amongst impressionable young men.


When Peterson speaks of the “differences between men and women” a strong sense emerges that Peterson subscribes to a kind of evolutionary psychology in the realm of gender and sex (he also esteems Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind as a ‘great text’). Evolutionary psychology constitutes a theoretical approach that attempts to understand mental and psychological traits as functional products of natural selection. Many critiques have tackled it (including this one, worth watching for better understanding the foundational assumptions of evolutionary psychology and the problems with it). I will restrict myself to evolutionary psychology as it relates to what Peterson says about sex and gender, and will begin by fairly summarizing some of Peterson’s positions here.

Peterson’s position on women’s personalities

Peterson and his fans often claim he is taken out context. For a charitable representation of his position, this answer he gave is instructive:

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